Foster teens receive special graduation from a caring community

The 19 graduates of San Pasqual Academy were recently very appreciative and overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of many wonderful individuals and local organizations. Friends of San Pasqual Academy, a volunteer organization that has been caring for these students for over 17 years, hosted a pre-graduation lunch for these foster students. They wanted to make sure every graduate was prepared for his or her next chapter of their lives.

These foster graduates not only leave their school upon graduation, they also leave their home. This is a very emotional time for the foster graduates, to say the least. For many, San Pasqual Academy has been the only safe, stable, nurturing home and school that they have ever known.

At the pre-graduation lunch, each graduate received a personalized laundry bag with each student's embroidered name on it, that was filled with sheets, towels, a pillow and more. Teen Volunteers In Action donated these wonderful bags, coordinated by Kathy Lathrum.

Laundry baskets full of cleaning supplies, an iron, laundry detergent, hangars and more were created by National Charity League members, Torrey Pines National Honor Society, and Torrey Pines California Scholarship Federation and coordinated by Teri Summerhays. Hand-made personalized quilts and pillow cases were made for all the foster graduates. Many caring individuals and generous organizations provided all 19 graduates the following items during the pre-graduation lunch: a bicycle, helmet, bike lock, filled rolling backpack. George Foreman Grill, microwave, mini refrigerator, laptop computer, inkjet printer, self-charging computer case and a portable charger.

The graduation ceremony was also hosted by Friends of San Pasqual Academy with each student receiving a scholarship to continue their education. Former graduates who completed their college degree were recognized at the graduation ceremony, as well. Friends of San Pasqual Academy also gave each alumni a gift of $1,000 for this hard-earned accomplishment. The alumni and graduates of San Pasqual Academy were very appreciative of this support and for the generosity and recognition they received.

Many of these graduates plan to continue on with their education. Currently Friends of San Pasqual Academy is supporting over 80 high school graduates who are still attending schools that include UCLA, Cal State San Marcos, San Francisco State, San Diego State, Humbolt State, San Jose State, Sacramento State, Palomar College, Miracosta College, Southwestern College and various trade schools.

"These are amazing kids who want to pursue a higher education. They have had to attend multiple schools as they've been moved around the foster care system, interrupting their efforts to meet the requirements for graduation or develop bonds with other students and adults. When they arrive at San Pasqual Academy, they are grateful to remain at one school, get involved in school activities, and continue their education in a safe, consistent, and stable environment," states Lois Jones, board member of Friends of San Pasqual Academy.

According to Teri Summerhays, board member of Friends of San Pasqual Academy, "Our foster students' lives have been changed and continue to change due to the caring efforts of others. They are aware that many people in our community really do care about them and support them in various ways. This committed support of others motivates our foster teens to work hard, pursue their dreams and their self-esteem and self-worth are highly elevated. They are grateful and know others are cheering for them in life."

Friends of San Pasqual Academy is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Donations can be sent to PO Box 8202, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067. For more information, please visit or call (858) 759-3298.

Grad bags
Presenting 19 graduation bags for the Class of 2018 are (l-r): Nicole Terrill, Jennifer Levine, Tammy Dahl, and Lisa Michaels. Courtesy